Joe Millar


“…a moment’s orgasm of rupture.”
DH Lawrence

A new shadow born each morning
to follow your body around,
car thief leaning in the doorway
of the Narcotics Anonymous meeting,
Lawrence “going down the strange lanes of hell”
or Keith Richard’s vest of splintered glass
twinkling under the lights, threading
the scant single notes together,
rhythmic, sparse, randomly surefooted,
the tambourine shaking behind him…

Yesterday you broke the begonia plant
an “aurea maculate,” quite rare,
knocking it to the hardwood
with one swipe of your sleeve.
You’ve broken the crown on your right
bicuspid, broken a windshield with a rock
broken an eardrum flying back east
with a jammed-up sinus infection.
Today the dawn breaks over the porch
like the record number of bank foreclosures
taking away peoples’ homes. You think
now of your first wife’s waters
breaking on the back stairs,
the wedding ring lying in a pawn shop,
the skins on the heirloom tomatoes split,
green vines breaking over the cages.
You go out into the night alone
with your broken promises, swollen gums,
the stitches bitter under your tongue.
The black dog barks like he’s seen a ghost:
you don’t belong in the quiet yard
with your hooded sweatshirt and criminal thoughts
the bamboo wrinkled and starred with ice
in the light from the moon’s frozen crust.




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